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Fellowship Research Project Funded in 2012

Determination of the role of candidate receptors STAB-2, CLEC4M and SCARA5 as contributing factors to quantitative athologies involving the accelerated clearance of von Willebrand factor

Dr. Laura Swystun
Queen’s University – Kingston, Ontario
One year funding. Start: July 1, 2012; To end June 2013.

Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a protein that helps blood clot by helping platelets bind to each other and the blood vessel wall. VWD is due to impaired VWF function. Many patients with VWD show evidence of increased VWF clearance or removal from their plasma. Three cell surface receptors (CLEC4M, STAB2, SCARA5) may facilitate clearance of VWF from the blood. We believe that mutations in these receptors may increase VWF clearance and result in VWD. The purpose of our studies are to:

1. characterize the ability of VWF to bind to CLEC4M, STAB2 and/or SCARA5 receptors;

2. investigate the clearance of VWF in animal or cell models that lack these receptors;

3. determine if VWD patients with evidence of accelerated VWF clearance have variations in the CLEC4M, STAB2 and SCARA5 genes.

These studies are important because they could help us better understand how VWF is cleared from blood, and identify new genetic causes of VWD. This could lead to the development of strategies to prevent increased VWF clearance and improve the health of patients with VWD.